Thursday, May 30, 2013

Black and white is actually a good thing sometimes

I've been gluten free for five days now and I'm pretty amazed at how I've been doing.  First of all, I got rid of all my food that is not GF.  It reminded me of when I first started Optifast and I gave all of my food away.  At that time, it was getting rid of all food products that were not shakes.  With this, there are clear guidelines, too.  There are certain foods that, if I do have an intolerance to gluten, I should not have.  Why?  Well, putting it politely, they make me absolutely sick to my stomach.  So there's a medical reason behind all of this, not just another fad diet to follow.  In that respect, it is an awful lot like Optifast because there are clear black and white boundaries that I have to adhere to if I don't want to continue feeling sick.  When I was doing the shakes, it was actually pretty easy for me - you either drink them and remain compliant or you don't.  That really spoke to my perfectionist nature.  The difference here, though, is that if I eat something with gluten in it, I have medical consequences.

This problem has actually been going on for quite some time, even when I was losing weight on Optifast.  I didn't say a thing to anyone about the true nature of what was going on because I was losing so much freaking weight so fast.  Losing 45 pounds that first month was hard to fight.  If I sit here and think about it, this problem has been going on for years but I somehow thought I was the cause of all of it by not eating great.  The line in the sand was my graduation party.  I ate a lumpia, a slice of cake, as well as other thing that day and I felt absolutely sick to my stomach as a result.  So, in these last few days, I have cut all gluten out.  It has not been easy, but there are actually a lot of foods and restaurants out there that cater to the GF world.  Things are very expensive, there's no doubt about it, but look at the kind of money I spent on Optifast!  This is nothing in comparison.  Here are some things I no longer eat to stay GF:

  • Cooking spray 
  • Flour with wheat, barley or rye in any format
  • Anything that is breaded, has flour on it, served in a sauce that has gluten in it (which is a common preservative)
  • Marinades, such as soy sauce or teriyaki sauce
  • Wheat products
  • Any baked goods unless I'm absolutely sure they are made GF
  • Cereal
  • Chips, unless they are made from corn
  • Tortillas
  • Crackers
  • Fast food
  • Ice cream
  • Imitation seafood
  • Oats, unless made GF
  • Pasta, unless GF
  • Processed food, like luncheon meat
  • Most soups
  • Vegetables that have sauces
  • Yogurt (which I found out the hard way)
Yeah, okay, that's a pretty big list when you start thinking about it.  Think about the last time you were in a restaurant.  How many foods on the menu weren't breaded, covered in sauce or cooked in a questionable way?  Just the smallest amount of wheat is enough to make someone who has a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease sick to their stomach.  One little piece of wheat toast will do me in.  There's this oh-so-yummy wheat bread that Costco sells that I completely love, but it hurts me every time I have eaten it.

Given all of that, there are many foods that are perfectly safe to eat.  More and more restaurants are offering GF options or serve only GF items.  I have found that my meals are incredibly healthy, yet satisfying.  And I've had the GF version of foods that I can no longer eat, like the pancakes I made the other day.  They don't taste exactly the same, but I usually don't care about things like that.  They taste good and that's what I look for.  The other day, some moms brought in breakfast goodies to the high school where I work as a thank you for the work we do.  They really set up a huge spread, most of which I could not eat.  One of my friends at work, who also is GF, helped me pick out foods that I could have that would not make me feel sick.  So I had a lovely breakfast and was happy that I wouldn't feel sick later.

Since making the switch, I have not been feeling the same sickness in my stomach that I did before, except when I had a certain brand of yogurt.  I have an app on my phone that tells me if something is GF by scanning the bar code.  I looked up just general yogurt and it said it was safe.  I should have looked up that specific product because I felt incredibly sick and it has taken a full day to recover from it.  All for about 5 bites of yogurt.  So, as amazing as some of the food looks, I know I have medical consequences to eating them and incredible freedom but not eating them.  Who knows, maybe being GF is really a blessing in disguise for me.  I would love that.  For now, I am incredibly grateful to have a tummy that is not upset at me.


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